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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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272                               LIFE  OF
always was/* And on the 6th August, 1791, he again
writes to Jacob! about these brothers, when "William
had determined to give tip official life and devote
himself exclusively to his own higher studies:—
*c Alexander Humboldt is in Freiberg and begins to
die off for me. William is dead to me long ago ; he
Intends to marry Caroline von Dacheroden, in Erfurt,
and is, in his present humour, going to retire from all
public activity, which, with his talents, is much to be
regretted. Alexander wants to do all the more, but
has not physical strength enough for it/*
Humboldt indeed began at this period to be lost
to his more distant friends, although he never quite
dropped these relations so dear to him, and resumed
them again when his retirement from public life left
him more at leisure to follow the requirements of his
head and heart. His correspondence with his
betrothed was probably uninterrupted during the
•whole time of his absence., but his acquaintance with
Schiller was as yet superficial, and seems not to have
"become more intimate till after 17913 when they lived
at less distance from each other. Alexander left
Hamburg in the spring of 1791, visited his mother,
brother, and friends in Berlin, and then proceeded to
[Freiberg in July of the same year, where he studied
geognosy and mining operations until March of the
following year.
But the elder brother was also anxious to quit
Berlin as soon as possible, for he could not feel at ease
in his office under the rulers of the day, although he
is wisely silent on this subject in his letters. He could
not hope to be able to prevent much evil or to effect
much good, and although his friends wished him to
remain at his post to be ready if affairs should take a
different turn, he could not determine upon such a
course. He wished to marry and live in his family
circle, and also to give more time to his studies of life
and men. Philosophy did not seem sufficient to him
for this purpose, and his former philological studies
had convinced him that for his views completeness of